Universal Health Care: Sooner Than Later
To The Editor:
Successful insurance producers know that when the cost of the premium dollar to solve the problem is perceived to be less than the pain of the problem, the prospect will take action.
Steve Piontek is right in his April 9 column, “Third Rail,” when he suggests that we may have reached the point when the pain seemingly inherent in the current health care system is perceived to be greater than the cost of giving the problem to the government to solve.
In June of 2006, after 31 years as an attorney in the life and health insurance business, I retired from a position as COO of a health insurance company and took my current position in academia. I left the business side believing that some form of government-financed universal health care was an inevitability likely to be seen within 10 years. Not quite a year later, I believe that only the time frame is wrong-it is much too long.
The baby boomers, after a working lifetime of having their health care subsidized by their employers, are beginning to retire and face the full cost of health care and health care insurance without the cushion of the employer’s contribution. The result is sticker shock.
One can imagine them placing all of the health care players (health insurers, employers, brokers, doctors, hospitals, drug companies, politicians, personal injury plaintiff’s lawyers, medical equipment manufacturers, medical malpractice insurance companies, and nursing homes) in a circle. They would then go to each player in the circle and ask, “Who do we blame for the high the costs of medical care and medical insurance?” At every stop, each person would say, “It’s not my fault, we’re only doing what we have to do. It’s their fault.” And each one would point to the left.
It appears the boomers have concluded that each segment of the industry is determined to protect its own interests and seems incapable of working with others to achieve some solution. So the boomers have given up going around the circle. They have stopped in front of the politicians and have said, “What are you going to do about this?” Since the baby boomers vote in huge numbers, the politicians are not going to waste time going around the circle one more time.
Players who wish to stay in this game should consider adopting a new playbook.
A sophisticated ad campaign will not likely have the same impact it did a few years ago.
Burke A. Christensen, JD, CLU
Robert B. Morgan Chair of Insurance
College of Business and Technology
Eastern Kentucky University
What Sacrificial Lambs?